Rinse and repeat. Those words have become a meme in American culture. Where did they come from. I’m betting you know!
That’s right. “Rinse and repeat,” the familiar instructions on almost every bottle of shampoo sold in the U.S. since… well, probably since shampoo has been sold. Even though we suspect that instruction might be there just to sell more shampoo, most of us dutifully follow it.
But when it comes to sharing our content on social media, many marketers not only fail to rinse and repeat their shares, they may think they should not do that.
Recently I sampled the Twitter shares of 30 different people who were both regular bloggers and regular Twitter users. I took note when they shared one of their own blog posts for the first time on Twitter. Then I monitored their tweets for 30 days. I found that 80% of those people never shared their own content again after the first time.
Why Don’t We Re-share Our Stuff?
Before we get into why we should re-share our own stuff more than once, let’s talk about why we don’t. I have no scientific data on this, but I can make a reasonable guess at two possible reasons:
- Laziness. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. Perhaps we should say “busyness.” In any case, it’s easy to press those share buttons after publishing your content and think, “My work here is done.”
- Fear Of Spamming. In the early days of social media, the conventional wisdom was that sharing the same thing more than once on the same network was rude and spammy.
The laziness/busyness problem is obvious, as is its solution: become more intentional about re-sharing or using tools to preschedule social shares.
Fear of spamming, on the other hand, is harder to overcome. I would argue that it might have been a legitimate concern back when there were far fewer people on social media. But these days, most people have very busy social streams. A single post is actually more likely not to be seen by the majority of your followers.
If you only share something once, or a few times, the majority of your followers won’t see it.
That’s generally true on any network. Most Marketing Land readers by now are well aware that it’s particularly true on the largest social network, Facebook, where current estimates are that posts by pages are seen by as little as 6% of their followers.
The Power Of Multiple Shares
But does sharing your content multiple times work? At my agency, we’ve set up multiple shares on all of our content for a long time now, and we almost always find that we get much more lifetime traffic for the content.
Here’s a recent example. We actually shared this post more than four times during the period shown, but the peaks you see are the times that the shares really took off (you never can predict which shares will “hit”):
Notice that each of the later shares that “hit” generated more than half the amount of traffic that the original share did. That’s traffic we never would have had if we’d only shared once. If you only share your content once, you are almost certainly leaving traffic on the table.
A Multiple Share Strategy
• Automation & Calendars. The biggest barrier to getting out multiple shares is between our ears: our memories. Once we’ve published and shared a piece of content, it’s “out of sight, out of mind.” We’re on to the next project or task.
One way to overcome that is using a calendar with alerts (such as Google Calendar). As part of your process when publishing new content, set reminders out over the next month or so prompting you to re-share the content.
A more sophisticated solution is an automated publishing tool such as HootSuite. HootSuite and similar tools allow pre-scheduling of social shares on multiple social networks. HootSuite even has an actual publishing calendar. Click on any date and time, and a window pops up to create your post. The post will then be shared at the date and time on which you had clicked.
• Changing It Up. Another way to get more “bang” out of your multiple shares (and alleviate any latent “am I spamming?” fears) is to vary how you share your content.
Most content shares on social media lead with the title of the post. At my agency, that’s usually the form of our first share. From there, we plan a series of subsequent shares that are based on the deep content of the post. So, instead of sharing the article title, we might share a tip from the post, or provide an interesting statistic.
Not only does this tactic prevent sharing the exact same thing again, but there is a chance that a specific tip might grab someone where the title didn’t.
• Re-share Frequency. How often should you re-share? This is one of those “there’s no right answer” questions. However, testing may show what works best for your audiences.
I try to avoid stereotypes about “what works” on different social networks, but it is important to pay attention to the “flow” of each network. For example, Twitter tends to move very quickly. The average “half-life” of a tweet is about 24 minutes.
That means you can probably benefit from re-sharing on Twitter more frequently than on some other networks. If you’re re-sharing within a short period of time, though, rewrite the tweet, as Twitter will reject the same exact tweets sent too closely together.
• A Suggestion For Testing. If you’re a data geek and really want to know how effective your re-shares are, or how many or how closely-spaced they can be before they lose effectiveness, try tagging your links. Use the Google URL Builder Tool to create a unique URL for each network and individual share of your content. Then you can look under Campaigns in Google Analytics to see how much traffic each share brought to your content.
Have you been intentional about doing multiple shares of your content? Have you seen discernible results? What is your multiple re-share strategy?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.